McGovern Introduces Bill to Overturn Citizens United and Get Money Out of Politics
House, Senate Bills Push Constitutional Amendment to Overturn Citizens United
Days after the seven year anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in the Citizens United case, Congressman Jim McGovern (MA-02) and Representatives Ted Deutch (FL-22) and Jamie Raskin (MD-08) joined Senators Tom Udall (D-NM) and Michael Bennet (D-CO) in re-introducing the Democracy for All Amendment.
This constitutional amendment would help to reverse the concentration of political influence held by large corporations and the wealthy capable of spending millions of dollars in American elections. To help get big money out of politics and restore democratic power to the American people, this amendment would affirm the right of the people to pass state and federal laws regulating spending in elections.
Congressman McGovern has been a leading voice in Congress calling to get money out of politics and introduced a similar measure to overturn Citizens United in 2011.
“There’s too much money in our politics. It is a corrupting force. It undermines our democracy and drowns out the voices of the people,” Congressman McGovern said. “The Democracy for All Amendment empowers Congress and state legislatures with the ability to limit spending in political campaigns in their respective states. It will help return power to the people and take it out of the hands of special interests. Citizens United was a dreadful decision that has done great harm to our democracy. This is a way to begin to take back our country.
“The Supreme Court’s disastrous Citizens United decision reserved meaningful political participation for the rich and wealthy special interests,” said Congressman Deutch. “At every turn and on nearly every issue, from gun safety to climate change, unlimited political spending ensures that Congress is tuned in to the needs of special interests and tunes out the voices of the American people. It’s time to get money out of politics to guard our elections against a dangerous threat that erodes the faith of the American people in our democratic institutions.
“The 2016 election was supposed to be a call to ‘drain the swamp’ — because so many Americans are fed up with business as usual in Washington, where moneyed special interests drown out the voices of regular Americans,” said Senator Udall. “But instead of reform, President Trump has set out rewarding Wall Street insiders and billionaire donors with cabinet and other key positions in the new administration, and the ultra-wealthy and well-connected look to have more power than ever in determining the future of our democracy. Each year, because of Citizens United and subsequent decisions, the door has opened wider for rich special interests and corporations to pour unlimited sums of money into our elections and root themselves in our government.
“The only real way we can put our democracy back in the hands of all Americans, instead of a privileged, powerful few, is to amend the Constitution. Our Democracy for All Amendment restores the authority of the American people – through Congress and the states – to regulate campaign finance, so that our elections aren’t put up for sale to the highest bidder. Millions of people across the country and over a dozen state legislatures, including New Mexico’s, have voiced support for a constitutional amendment, and we must keep pressing forward to ensure a government that is of, by, and for the people.
“Coloradans want commonsense reforms to fix our broken campaign finance system and bring some semblance of sanity to our politics. This constitutional amendment would do that by establishing the authority of Congress and the states to pass reasonable campaign finance rules,” Senator Michael Bennet said. “In order to get Washington working and restore faith in our democracy, we must end the flood of unlimited secret money that’s drowning out the voices of Colorado families.
“Seven years ago, five justices overturned two centuries of jurisprudence to determine that private business corporations enjoy the political free speech rights of the people,” said Congressman Raskin. “Today, after hundreds of millions of dollars in dark money have been spent by CEOs in the name of their unwitting shareholders and billionaires act as our new political bosses and cabinet secretaries, we can see what plutocracy looks like. I’m proud to support the Democracy for All Amendment to rebuild the wall of separation between massive corporate and private wealth and public elections.
“Americans may be divided about many things, but they are united in their belief that the Supreme Court’s Citizens United v. FEC decision was a disaster,” said Robert Weissman, President of Public Citizen. “They know that the political system is rigged, and that Citizens United-enabled spending by corporations and the super-rich is a big part of the problem. It is past time to overturn this decision and get big money out of politics. Public Citizen thanks Rep. Ted Deutch and other sponsors of the Democracy for All amendment for their leadership in advancing this vital initiative.
“Common Cause commends Congressman Deutch, Senator Udall, and many other members of Congress for their leadership in championing the Democracy for All Amendment to help reduce the influence of big money in politics,” said Aaron Scherb, Director of Legislative Affairs at Common Cause. “The Democracy for All Amendment would help ensure that the voices of all Americans can be heard in our democracy even if they can’t hire a lobbyist, make a large campaign contribution, or start a super PAC.
“After the election, it’s clearer than ever that we need money in politics reform,” said Marge Baker, Executive Vice President of People For the American Way. “Super PAC spending during the 2016 cycle was nearly double what it was in the last presidential election. The voices of everyday Americans can’t be heard when wealthy special interests can tilt our elections to fit their interests. We applaud Senator Udall, Representative Deutch, Representative McGovern, Representative Raskin, and the other congressional champions who continue to push for needed reforms like the Democracy For All Amendment.
“We applaud Members of Congress for re-introducing the Democracy For All Amendment to ensure that big money interests will no longer be able to dominate our elections and our government, drowning out the voices of ordinary citizens,” said John Bonifaz, President of Free Speech For People. “To advance the promise of political equality for all and to reclaim our democracy, Congress must pass this constitutional amendment and send it to the states for ratification.
“Americans across the political spectrum know we must have the 28th Amendment so that people, not money and global corporations, govern America,” said Jeff Clements, President of American Promise. “At American Promise, we applaud this progress in Congress and urge cross-partisan support for this effort.”